SLA vs. SLS 3D Printing: What Is the Difference

SLA vs. SLS 3D Printing: What Is the Difference

Three-dimensional printing is an incredibly versatile tool that businesses use for all kinds of products. While you may know 3D printing as a monolithic endeavor, there are actually several kinds. Here is the difference between SLA and SLS 3D printing.

SLA 3D Printing

SLA stands for stereolithography—which happens to be the very first method for 3D printing. SLA 3D printing methods use lasers to trace and build out individual layers that accumulate until product completion. This process relies on cured liquid resin that lays atop previously drawn layers, stacking one after the other until finishing the entire shape.

SLS 3D Printing

SLS stands for selective laser sintering, which is an industrial-grade 3D printing process. The SLS method begins with a powder bed wherein a laser melts particles together to create 3D structures. Due to the laser-guided system, SLS prints are known for their precision. The end product is sturdy and flexible, making it a great option for a range of products. If you need an SLS 3D printing service, our technicians at Tangible Creative can fabricate anything you can dream up.

The Key Differences

One of the most obvious differences between the two methods is their material—which, in turn, changes the building style. While SLA uses a liquid base, SLS uses a solid one. The respective layering or selective powder fusing takes place because of the material limitations. Furthermore, in SLS, the surrounding powder supports the new structure of the print, whereas, in SLA, you have to build supporting structures that technicians must remove in post-processing.

Another important comparison is the variance in texture. SLA has a smooth finish, while SLS has a porous surface. Though these nuances may appear more microscopic, this will change how you build your product based on the density and strength of the material.

Knowing the difference between SLA and SLS 3D printing can help you make the best decisions when it comes to your printing choices. If you need either SLA or SLS 3D printing, our team at Tangible Creative is ready and able to help. Whether you want to play with a new product design or custom fabricate a whole new line, we can help you make it happen.